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Rumor that Bulls, Jazz, Grizzlies or Thunder might trade up to draft Donovan Clingan

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY - March 24: Donovan Clingan #32 of the Connecticut Huskies dribbles the ball against the Northwestern Wildcats during a second round NCAA Tournament game at Barclays Center on March 24, 2024 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)

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For this to happen, a specific scenario needs to play out at the 2024 NBA Draft:

Atlanta takes Zaccharie Risacher with the No. 1 pick, then Washington selects Alex Sarr second (those two could be reversed, but they are the likely first two guys picked). That brings us to UConn standout center Donovan Clingan, who is high on a lot of teams’ draft boards. Except Houston, which picks No. 3, has its center of the future in Alpren Sengun. San Antonio at No. 4 has Victor Wembanyama. Detroit at No. 5 has Jalen Duren.

That scenario is why a pick in the 3-6 range could get traded to a team looking to move up and draft Clingan, suggests Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo at ESPN.

Clingan is a top-three prospect who might experience a minor drop on draft night because teams that are in the Nos. 3-6 range already have starting centers in place... Clingan isn’t expected to drop past the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 7, whom he just visited for a private workout as well. He is being discussed among teams as a possible target for the likes of Chicago, Memphis, Oklahoma City or Utah, who all might explore trading up for a player in his mold.

ESPN notes that both Atlanta and Washington worked out Clingan, and he could be taken by them in the top two, making this all moot. Houston is shopping the No. 3 pick as it wants to win sooner rather than later and would like veteran help. Some of the teams rumored to want to move up make sense — Memphis needs someone to fill Steven Adams’ shoes, while OKC is looking for a backup to Chet Holmgren. Utah could see Clingan as the anchor next to Lauri Markkanen.

Fans know Clingan as the 7'2" center who was the heart of the UConn defense and helped lead them to an NCAA Title. He is an old-school center, a shot-blocking, rim-protecting force who can score enough around the rim to keep teams honest. There are guys with higher ceilings in this draft, but Clingan has a high floor, and he can help from Day 1. He has a specific role in the NBA.

And a few teams are willing to trade up to get him.